International media report “low turnout” and “apathy” towards Egypt elections

Monday 19-10-2015 03:46 PM
International media report “low turnout” and “apathy” towards Egypt elections

A woman voting inside Egypt in the first of two phases of the parliamentary elections to choose members of the House of Representatives on Oct 18, 2015. ASWAT MASRIYA/Ahmed Hamed.


CAIRO, Oct. 19 (Aswat Masriya) – International media outlets covering Egypt’s parliamentary elections noted the absence of voters and the general apathy of youth in stories about the first of two days of parliamentary elections which kicked off yesterday.

The elections, covering 14 provinces in its first phase where 27.4 Egyptians are eligible to vote, has seen a remarkably low turnout on Sunday.

The BBC spotted the “really low” turnout, saying in a video that most of the people seen were above the age of 40 and that no long queues or crowded polling stations were seen.

It also reported that the youth were “not present at all”, saying that many had decided to boycott the polls because “the new parliament will not represent them, it will not bring them anything new”, they said.

Reuters noted the contrast between the turnout yesterday versus the 2011-12 parliamentary elections which saw “long lines and enthusiasm”. At the time, Islamist parties' domination was palpable with the participation of the now banned Muslim Brotherhood and its political wing the Freedom and Justice party, which won the lionshare of the seats.  The ultra-conservative Al-Nour Salafist party came second sweeping 24 percent of the People's Assembly.

Reuters correspondents visited a number of polling station and reported the turnout to be around 10 percent, even though official figures announced by the Supreme Electoral Commission had announced a turnout of 2.27 percent by yesterday afternoon.

The New York Times citing the Associated Press (AP) highlighted “voters' apathy and frustration” quoting a 38-year old owner of a carpentry shop from Giza as saying that “there is no incentive to vote”. He expressed his suspicion that even if a candidate has a platform, he didn’t think it will be implement. “It’s just talk”, he said.

The CNN on the other hand said that people who were seen voting in the election support President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi “to some degree” and “want a new parliament to back his agenda”.

The Guardian ran an AFP analysis piece sayiny that Egyptians have "shunned" elections slated to shore up more support for al-Sisi.

It linked the lack of “enthusiasm” to participate with the absence of opposition parties including the Muslim Brotherhood group.

The group was banned in December 2013 when a court designated the group “a terrorist organization” following the military ouster of former president Mohamed Mursi in July 2013. Security forces have since launched a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and their sympathisers, which over the course of the past two years has broadened to include any form of dissent.

A 25 year old Ahmed Mostafa was quoted by AFP as saying that “It’s not going to matter. It’s just for show, to show that we are a democracy, and we have elections."

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